Virginia, associated with the Mid-Atlantic and southeastern U.S., had its origins in a colony founded in 1607. Following the thirteen English colonies' independence of 1776, Virginia was the tenth state admitted to the U.S. on June 25, 1788. It is one of four commonwealths in the country alongside Kentucky, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Virginia's capital is Richmond, which was the Confederate capital during the Civil War; while its most populous city is Virginia Beach, its largest metropolitan area is Washington, DC, whose Virginia portion is the busy Northern Virginia region. Greater Richmond, the Hampton Roads, Charlottesville and Roanoke are some other major population centers around the Commonwealth.
Virginia is geographically diverse: the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah sections of the Appalachian mountains dominate the west, while the Piedmont runs through the middle of the Commonwealth and the east is characterized by Chesapeake and Atlantic coastal plain. The state has a physically separate Eastern Shore which forms the south end of the Delmarva Peninsula. It was a key state in the Civil War, and such towns as Appomattox, Manassas and Petersburg were home to major battles. Virginia's Historic Triangle is home to two colonial settlements, Williamsburg and Jamestown. Eight of 46 U.S. Presidents, including George Washington in Westmoreland County, were born there. Virginia has universities: Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg, and more.
One of Virginia's most prominent Interstate highways is Interstate 95, the most major highway of the East Coast; in Virginia I-95 runs out of North Carolina through Emporia, between Petersburg and Richmond, and northward through Fredericksburg and into Northern Virginia, turning eastward just short of Washington. Interstate 85 has its northern terminus in Petersburg at I-95 and more directly serves the Southside. Interstate 64 winds through the mountains out west, passes through the Piedmont via Charlottesville, overlaps with I-95 through Richmond, and makes its way across the Virginia Peninsula, ultimately reaching its eastern terminus in Chesapeake in the Hampton Roads. Interstate 81 is the state's western corridor, coming out of east Tennessee and providing access to Blacksburg, Roanoke, Staunton, Harrisonburg and Winchester, before entering West Virginia. Interstate 77 serves the state's southwest en route between Charlotte, North Carolina and Charleston, West Virginia. Interstate 66 links I-81 south of Winchester with Northern Virginia and D.C. Both I-64 and I-77 have prolonged overlaps with I-81.
Virginia is filled to the brim with U.S. routes. U.S. Route 1 follows I-85 from the North Carolina line to Petersburg, and then I-95 to Alexandria, outside of Washington; it crosses into the District via the 14th Street Bridge of the Potomac River. U.S. routes 15 and 29 run generally north-south through the Commonwealth and are major corridors for the Piedmont; the two routes overlap between Culpeper and just northeast of Warrenton and swap positions in the grid in the latter area. U.S. Route 17 enters from eastern North Carolina, proceeds through the Hampton Roads and Middle Peninsula, runs concurrent with I-95 through Fredericksburg, and encounters higher elevation from Warrenton to its northern terminus in Winchester. U.S. Route 11 parallels and was functionally replaced by I-81. U.S. Route 13 connects the Hampton Roads with the state's Eastern Shore by way of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. U.S. Route 58 runs along the entire south end of the Commonwealth, from the Cumberland Gap to Virginia Beach via Martinsville, Danville, South Boston and Emporia. U.S. Route 60 mainly follows I-64. U.S. routes 33, 220, 221, 360, 460, 501 and 522 also have varying degrees of prominence in Virginia, all of them running through the mountains, Piedmont, or both.